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Butterfly and pollinator conservation

By |  June 8, 2020 0 Comments
Milkweed plants provide an essential habitat for monarch butterflies in out-of-play areas on golf courses. (Photo: Dan Potter, Ph.D.)

Milkweed plants provide an essential habitat for monarch butterflies in out-of-play areas on golf courses. (Photo: Dan Potter, Ph.D.)

Monarch butterfly populations have declined by 90 percent during the last two decades. Fortunately, golf courses can make a difference in butterfly and pollinator conservation.

Monarchs in the Rough is a pollinator protection program that has already shown great promise over the last two years. The United States Golf Association (USGA) is working with Audubon International to establish a network of pollinator habitat demonstration sites on golf courses across the country. The sites are marked with educational signs and provide the habitat needed by a variety of pollinators.

In 2018, Audubon International received a $150,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to support Monarchs in the Rough habitat projects in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin because those states are on the monarch butterfly’s primary migration route. In early 2019, the NFWF allowed the program to add Ohio and all states west of the Mississippi River.

The USGA provided $100,000 of matching funds that will help increase stewardship activities and increase monarch butterfly habitats on golf courses.

Audubon International estimates that there are up to 100,000 acres available for pollinator projects on golf courses. Monarchs in the Rough fits nicely with ongoing efforts at many golf courses to
naturalize out-of-play areas and reduce inputs of water, labor, mowing and plant protectants.

Audubon International has a nearly 30-year history working with the golf course industry. It will contact golf courses, track seed distribution and planting success and monitor vegetative and butterfly response in habitat areas. The USGA believes Monarchs in the Rough will accomplish important habitat establishment objectives by coordinating activities at golf facilities.

Don’t miss your chance to demonstrate how the golf industry supports the environment. Sign up for Monarchs in the Rough today to get free native and regionally appropriate seed to help support monarch butterfly populations.

This project was funded in part by the USGA Green Section.

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